7 Kind People Traits (& How to Cultivate Them)

Kind people rock.

Did you know that kindness is the #1 quality people look for in a mate? That people who volunteer live longer? That nice people are more likely to receive pay raises, job promotions, and achieve greater success in life?

But who are kind people? And what do they do that’s so powerful?

This article will answer both those questions. But first…

Let me begin with a little story.

My dad recently turned 80. Because of COVID-19, my parents haven’t been out of the house (much) for months. So on his special day, they were both surprised and delighted when a friend, also in her 70s, dropped by to bring him some birthday cake. 

Wendy made the effort to bake a cake, get in her car, drive 20+ miles, and joyfully deliver several large pieces of melt-in-your-mouth sweetness ~ with a birthday candle on top.

Dad loved it. 

what are signs of a kind person?

cupcakes shining bright with birthday candles

And, apparently she does this for all her friends. She makes a cake and shares it with people who are celebrating special days.

So, how would you describe a kind person? Think of Wendy ~ she’s a great kind person example. Someone who takes the time to do something nice for somebody else. 


(Enquiring minds want to know!)

Dictionary definitions lack pizzaz but, according to dictionary.com:

kind is an adjective to describe a person “of a good or benevolent nature or disposition.” 

Not very specific or helpful. So I searched to find a more true meaning of kindness and I found one that resonated with me. I’ll get to that in a minute.


do you know the difference between a nice person and a kind person?

kind man in red jacket helping woman in grey jacket

Is nice a synonym for kind?

In the 2014 documentary Kindness is Contagious, Elazar Allan used cute and beauty to illustrate nice and kind.

Cute and beauty describe appearance; they’re similar, yet different. They’re both positive descriptors but beauty is grander, deeper, more encompassing. 

In a similar vein, while nice is good, kind is bigger, broader; it encompasses more with deeper layers. Elazar described kindness as “authentic generosity.”

Phil Horvath, also in Kindness is Contagious, described nice as

a gateway drug to kindness.”

“It’s a great starting point,” he said. 

Phil then advised, “Be nice even if you don’t feel it. It shifts your mental crap and before you know it, you might even go all the way to kindness.”

In other words, nice and kind aren’t synonyms, but they’re both points on the same continuum.

nailed it! the true meaning of kindness.

As I researched this idea of “kind,” I discovered my favorite definition of kindness. It wasn’t in any dictionary, but it hit the proverbial nail on the head (for me). So, I’ve adopted it as the true meaning of a kind person. 

definition of kindness and kind people

Nice, right?

Now, to answer my question…

Fortunately I’m blessed to know some genuinely kind people. People who bring warmth and value to others without expecting anything in return. These are people I value and hold in high regard.

I consider them role models.

Which brings me to my big question:

Can you learn to become a kind and generous person? 

(You know ~ without having to spend a lot of time hanging out with your ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future — like Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol).

And, yes, I think you can.

Because kind people have certain traits that almost anyone can develop ~ with practice. 

So, with that in mind, here are 7 characteristics of a kind person with tips on how to cultivate each — because that’s the point, isn’t it? 

want to be kind to people? Do THese…

elderly Peru woman sitting in front of a store kindly offering herbs to another Peru woman
  1. Be A Giver, not a Taker.

Kind people are generous. Whether it’s time, money, or information, kind people give freely. They know you get more from giving than receiving. They share what they can to help others along the way.

And when kind people think of a good idea, they take action. (In other words, they show up.)

How kind people cultivate generosity:

  1. Pay for a stranger’s coffee, groceries, gas, etc.
  2. Research a question and share the answer.
  3. Teach something for free.
  4. Take a treat to share at work.
  5. Visit a shut-in.
  6. Help a child.
  7. Pick a cause and volunteer.
  8. Compliment a stranger..

Movie recommendation: Pay It Forward

woman pushing elderly woman in wheelchair kindly through a field around sunset
  1. Be More Than a Caregiver.

Kind people genuinely enjoy and care about people. They take the time to talk to and understand others. When a kind person asks “how are you?” they’re actually interested; they’re not just asking to be nice.

Kind people “check-in” and “follow-up.” They keep tabs on friends and family, calling to touch base and see how others are doing. And then they take action and show up when needed.

How kind people cultivate caring:

  1. Be actively present during encounters with people.
  2. Get to know what’s happening with others.
  3. Ask people questions about their lives.
  4. Try to understand other people’s ideas and points of view.
  5. Don’t argue, ask for clarity.
  6. Check in with people regularly and follow-up when needed.

Movie recommendation: Steel Magnolias (1989)

kind people smiling
  1. Show An Attitude of Gratitude. 

Kind people are grateful for what they have — not envious of what they don’t. They celebrate others’ successes and cheerfully give others a leg up. They know doing good for others eventually comes back around (it’s a karma thing). Truly kind people are not driven by compensation or rewards.

How kind people cultivate an attitude of gratitude:

  1. Keep a daily or weekly gratitude journal.
  2. Write a list of 3-5 things that you’re grateful for each day.
  3. Send a note of appreciation to a colleague.
  4. Think about or discuss good things that happened during your day (good for evening mealtime).
  5. Tell your friends and family 3 things you appreciate about them.

Movie recommendation: Life is Beautiful (1997)

kind people watching sunset
  1. Shut Your Mouth & Open Your Ears.

Kind people are good listeners. They know that being heard is often all someone needs. So they actively listen to others. They acknowledge they’ve heard. And they don’t assume they have the answer.

They know people don’t always need advice ~ having a sounding board can help people work out a solution for themselves. 

How kind people cultivate good listening skills:

  1. Put away your phone and other distractions.
  2. Be attentive when listening to others.
  3. Maintain good eye contact.
  4. Lean toward the person talking.
  5. Nod your head frequently to show you’re listening.
  6. Don’t offer advice but acknowledge you’ve heard.
  7. Be supportive.
  8. Ask “how can I help?” 

Movie recommendation: The Breakfast Club (1985)

buddha dolls demonstrating kind people traits by mimicking see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
  1. Remember: Mums the Word.

Kind people are trustworthy. Their word is sacred. If a kind person says they’re going to do something, consider it done, often better than expected. Because that’s the way they roll.

How kind people cultivate trustworthiness:

  1. Don’t lie (even little white lies hurt credibility).
  2. Do what you say you’re going to do.
  3. Leave things better than you found them.
  4. Never manipulate a situation or others for your own gain.
  5. Don’t gossip.

Movie recommendation: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

man pointing finger, like in judgement
  1. Don’t be Judge Judy. (Well, not exactly like Judge Judy.)

Kind people are honest and accepting. Like Judge Judy, they’ll give it to you straight ~ but they don’t judge. They may not like your actions, but they’ll accept you as you are. And if they have to forgive, they do that too.

How kind people cultivate acceptance:

  1. Keep an open mind.
  2. Get all the facts.
  3. Set aside judgement.
  4. Know you don’t have to like everybody — just accept (and forgive) them.

Movie recommendation: Coco (2017)

pineapples dressed with sunglasses and party hats with colorful balloons as if celebrating kind people
  1. Celebrate Good Times, C’mon! 

Kind people tend to be optimistic. They’re happy. They laugh often. They spread hope and cheer.  

How to cultivate optimism:

  1. Take a break from the news and social media.
  2. Watch movies or programs that make you laugh. 
  3. Go on a walk, run, or bike ride.
  4. Get outside and enjoy nature. 
  5. Go on a picnic.
  6. Learn to tell jokes.
  7. Spend quality time with friends and family.
  8. Dance and sing like no ones watching or listening.
  9. Focus on the good things in life.

Movie recommendation: Happy (2011)

Kind people traits & random acts of kindness (+movies to inspire)

Be Kind and hearts drawn in colorful chalk on black pavement

So there you have it.

7 characteristics of a kind person. 45 ways to help you to cultivate these traits. And 7 (bonus!) movie recommendations that demonstrate kindness.

So go on, pick a trait or two ~ and practice.

Wait, what? Oh. I get it.

You’re a kind person already. And you’re reading this “for a friend.” Well, there’s always room for a wee bit of improvement in everything we do ~ isn’t there?

In fact, I’m starting my own “kindness project.” I plan to do each of the suggestions above and keep a journal of what happens over the next 6 months (or so). Perhaps you’ll join me?

Remember, research shows that people want kindness in a mate, people who volunteer live longer, and, contrary to the old adage “nice people finish last,” nice people are actually more likely to receive pay raises, job promotions, and achieve greater success in life.

What will spreading a little more kindness do for you?


And, for a little inspiration, here are 30 great quotes about kindness for you to ponder.

If you like this article (or any of the ideas above), be sure to share it with your friends!

Do you have any stories of people being kind that touched you? Or maybe a story from your “kindness project?” Let me know in the comment section below. You just might spark a kind idea (or two) in others!

10 thoughts on “7 Kind People Traits (& How to Cultivate Them)”

  1. Thank you for spreading kindness with this article. It’s good to hear that kindness can be developed. I’d like to join you on your 6 month journey.

    • You are so welcome. Kindness can definitely be developed — just like a muscle, it needs to be exercised. Thanks for joining me on the 6 month kindness project. I look forward to hearing your results.

  2. Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!


Leave a Comment